When it comes to specific sports, size can make a difference. While it is not the only factor in being a good athlete, these people definitely find their size to be a great advantage. Even if these massive athletes aren't winning championships, their size alone should earn them a trophy. From basketball players to sumo wrestlers, the world's most prominent athletes will shock you.
Andre the Giant was an icon in his time. Standing at 7'4" weighing 520 pounds, he was regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He was a genuinely enormous man and loved by so many fans and people in the industry. Andre didn't need supplements or protein shakes because he was naturally this large. He had an excess of growth hormones, and people like Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy were no match for him. In 1993, Andre tragically passed away from heart failure.
Everyone knows Usain Bolt for being the fastest man in the world. He dominated every Olympic games for the past decade, and his long legs help him sprint faster than anyone else. In the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, Bolt has won consecutive golds in the 100 and 200-meter sprint. In recent years, Bolt has been plagued by hamstring injuries, which cost him a relay race in 2017.
As the biggest person to take on the world of sumo wrestling, Konishiki Yasokichi reached a peak weight of 633 pounds. He received the nickname "dump truck," but for this sport, size is very important and praised. Usually, sumo wrestlers are from Japan, so it was interesting for fans to see a foreigner on the mat. Yasokichi hails from Honolulu, Hawaii, and he did not need an expensive personal trainer to achieve success in his sport. He won his division many times and almost snagged the grand championship.
Rik Smits, otherwise known as "The Dunking Dutchman," is a former professional basketball player who spent his entire NBA career on the Indiana Pacers. At 7'4", he was a natural when it came to basketball and he won over the hearts of thousands of Indiana fans. Smits' career lasted 12 years until his childhood came back to haunt him. As a teenager, he wore shoes that were too tight, which caused nerve damage. After four surgeries to repair nerve damage and intensive back surgeries, Smit retired and focused on his health.
Kerri Lee Walsh Jennings made a name for herself as an incredible volleyball player as she won numerous times at the Olympics. She is one of the tallest volleyball players of all time and one of the most successful. Each year that she appeared in the Olympic games, people knew Jennings was a force to be reckoned with. Jennings and her doubles partner, Misty May Treanor, won three gold medals and one bronze. The duo became one of the greatest volleyball teams to grace the Olympic stage, and people often forget how tall these women are.
Everybody all over the world recognizes Shaquille O'Neal for his massive size. At 7'1", the former Lakers player turned sports analyst is considered to be one of the greatest players from the NBA. His height and incredible physique helped him to become known worldwide. In 2011, after his time with the Boston Celtics, Shaq announced his retirement on social media. His NBA career spanned over nineteen years, where he got to play alongside some of the other big names in sports, and he goes down in history as one of the top names in the NBA.
While most people praise Maria Sharapova for her gorgeous natural beauty, people often forget that she is one of the tallest female tennis players. After moving from Russia to the US in the '90s, she worked hard to become a well-known figure in the world of tennis. Throughout her career, Sharapova has dealt with many injuries and recovered stronger than ever. After playing in over 800 matches, Sharapova could not play to her full abilities due to yet another injury. At the beginning of 2020, she announced her retirement from the sport that shaped her life.
Boxing is known for having massive people step into the ring, so Nikolai Valuev was a showstopper when he made his debut fight. With time and training, the Russian boxer became the tallest and most massive world champion in the history of the sport. With 50 wins out of 53 fights, Valuev dominated during his career. He is one of five heavyweight champions to have retired without a career stopping injury. On top of a successful career, Valuev opened up his own boxing school, the Nikolai Valuev Boxing School.
After being nicknamed "the skyscraper," Stefan Struve has become the tallest man to fight in the UFC. The seven-foot-tall Dutchman works hard to maintain his muscular physique to intimidate opponents in the octagon. While he lost his debut fight, Struve has dramatically improved throughout his career. It must be odd to knock out a seven-foot man, but he does his best to win the fights. His current MMA record is 29 wins out of 41 total fights.
After spending hours in the gym, Holley Mangold has become the biggest female weightlifter of all time. Weighing in at 415 pounds, Mangold began her career in 2008 and represented the US at the 2012 Olympics. Her personal weightlifting record is 562.2 pounds. Mangold comes from a family of professional athletes. Her brother, Nick Mangold, is known for playing for the New York Jets as a center. While she is not breaking records, Mangold coaches the Dayton Barbell Club in Beavercreek, Ohio.
Chinese basketball player Yao Ming was the tallest man in the NBA before he retired. The 7'6" superstar had a successful career with the Houston Rockets from 2002 to 2011. Ming was an intimidating opponent on the court. Ming helped the Rockets reach the NBA playoffs four times. After, a foot injury in 2011, Ming announced his retirement from the sport that made him famous. Despite trying to recover and rehabilitate his foot, the injury kept him out of numerous games throughout his last season.